Friday, December 6, 2013

Thoughts during Chanukah: Seeing meaning in the Light - From Nightly Facebook Posts during the 5774 celebration of Chanukah

Happy Chanukah/Thanksgiving 
Nights 1 and 2 - Chag Urim Samayach!

Chanukah - Night #3 - Now beyond Thanksgiving and focusing on LIGHT on this Friday that should be a Friday of LIGHT and not BLACK Friday!

4th Night of Chanukah - I visited congregants in the Hospital this afternoon - hoping that these flames will bring healing, strength, a renewed spirit, and hope - Happy Chanukah and Shavua Tov/A Good Week!

Night #5 - the warmth increases, the light moves towards its final destination, offering hope of progress even against seemingly insurmountable odds. Happy Chanukah!

Night # 5 - Pirsumei nisa - publicizing the miracle - is central to Chanukah. What I have always enjoyed - and preferred - is to publicize the celebration through the lights of the Chanukiot in our home. I took this photo from outside our apartment tonight, and you can also see the reflection of the candles from our Chanukiot in the windows on our patio doors on the right side of the photo. In my view, the greatest miracles that we make real are the ones that come from deep inside of us, from a place of humility and hope.

At our Psalms class at Temple Beth-El tonight, we studied Psalm 5, which includes this verse: "But I, through your abundant love (kindness), enter Your house; I bow down in awe at Your holy temple." This verse (part of the "Mah Tovu" prayer compilation in the morning service) speaks of entering sacred space. After we light the Chanukah candles each night, we recite the traditional "Hanerot Halalu" prayers, which declares, "These lights are holy!" Lighting these lights on Chanukiah can put us in a holy space, especially when we look into the flames for a moment and see miracles, courage, connection, trust, and hope. Light also signifies learning and wisdom. When we consider what the flames on the Menorah/Chanukiah mean to each of us, and share our ideas with others, we engage in the process of enhancing our wisdom and broadening the scope of our knowledge. These lights are special, because there is so much meaning that we can see in them and ascribe to them. May we continue to give them meaning by kindling the Menorah every night of Chanukah and every year.

7th Night of Chanukah 2013/5774 - one of my Chanukah gifts was Mitch Albom's new book, THE FIRST PHONE CALL FROM HEAVEN. I read the whole book within 3 hours of receiving it this past Sunday. I could write a book about this book, but the messages that remain with me from Albom's poignant tale are: 
Have faith
Be positive
Open Your heart
Let go
Forgive (others and yourself)
Move forward
Look for what is good in life
Seven lessons for seven nights...and there are many more. 
Happy Chanukah to everyone as we look forward to a menorah/chanukiah full of light tomorrow evening!

As I write this message on the 8th Night of Chanukah, the candles on our Chanukiot will soon flicker out after providing their 5774 gift of light. What lights do I want to linger in the coming months?
For the last time this year, Chag Urim Samayach - Happy Chanukah!

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